(ORDO NEWS) — For the first time in history, researchers have discovered neutrino candidates produced at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN facility near Geneva, Switzerland.
This is an important milestone in particle physics. In a new study, scientists report observing six neutrino interactions during an experiment at the LHC. Neutrinos are subatomic particles that have a very small mass, like an electron, but have no electrical charge – a characteristic that makes them extremely difficult to detect.
It is reported that these neutrinos were created during the first launch of the detector, which was merged with the CERN FASER (Forward Search Experiment) collaboration in 2018.
“Prior to this project, there was never any sign of neutrinos at the particle collider,” says co-author Jonathan Feng, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine and co-director of the FASER collaboration. “This significant breakthrough is a step towards a deeper understanding of these elusive particles and the role they play in the universe.”
The LHC, which includes four main detectors: ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, and Lyc, usually works by colliding two high-energy particle beams with each other.
During this launch at the LHC, the team conducted a pilot test with a new particle detector, which consists of dense lead and tungsten metal plates interspersed with layers of emulsion plates.
Feng said that emulsion plates are a lot like old-school photographic film. When films are exposed to light, photons appear as images as the film develops. In the same way, with this device, upon collision of particles, the emulsion layers revealed neutrino interactions after processing.
Particles colliding during this test produced neutrinos, which then shattered into nuclei in the dense metal of the plates. According to the statement, the resulting particles passed through the layers of the emulsion and left noticeable “imprints”.
This report of the discovery of neutrino interactions reveals two important things, Feng said.
“First, he confirmed that the position in front of the ATLAS interaction point at the LHC is the correct location to detect neutrinos,” Feng said. “Second, our efforts have demonstrated the effectiveness of using an emulsion detector to observe this kind of neutrino interactions.”
“This is just the beginning of a very ambitious quest to detect neutrino interactions and continue to explore the strange world of subatomic particles,” said project co-author David Kasper, co-leader of the FASER project and assistant professor at UCI.
“Given the power of our new detector and its convenient location at CERN, we expect to be able to register over 10,000 neutrino interactions at the next LHC launch starting in 2022,” said Kasper. “We will find the highest energy neutrinos ever produced from an artificial source.”
The FASER team also has big plans for dark matter research at the LHC. The team is working on an experiment using the FASER tool to try to detect the so-called “dark photons”, which, according to scientists, should reveal the behavior and nature of dark matter.
This work was described in a paper published November 26 in Physical Review D.
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